Artificial Intelligence / Loebner Prize

In today’s lecture we were taken by a Professor Paul McKevvit whilst our nomal lecturer was in London. He began the lecture by talking about artificial intelligence. When we look at artificial intelligence as it is portrayed in the movies, from films such as Blade Runner, where bio-engineered humanoids called Replicants have become so self-aware that they revolted against humans and as a result are made illegal, these machines had become so life like that the only way to tell them apart from the humans was to use an emotional response test to gauge lack of emotion compared to that of a human. In the film “The Terminator”,where a cyborg is sent back through time with one mission, to kill Sarah Connor, in these films the Artificial Intelligence system known as Skynet has gained sentiency and taken control of the world’s technology, these 80’s movies AI is much more advanced than even today’s technologies, as creating a physical machine that both looks human and acts human is a lot more difficult than made out. We may not have cyborgs revolting yet but we still have had massive advancements in this field in recent years. Paul told us about the Loebner Prize, this is an annual competition that tests the advancement of Artificial Intelligence systems based on their ability to fool human judges into believing that it is not a machine and actually a human instead. To date the only medal that has been awarded is Bronze as no AI has been successful enough to fool all the Judges. There are other one time only prizes in this competition that have never been won such as the $25,000 prize for the first chatterbot that can successfully fool the Judges into believing it is a human and also convince the Judges that the Human is the machine. A $100,000 reward is offered to the first AI that the Judges cannot distinguish from a real human in a Turing test. This year the Loebner prize was held at the University of Ulster and the winner of the 2013 competition, taking home the bronze medal was a chatterbot called Mitsuku. Created by Steve Worswick, this AI claims to be an 18 year old female from Leeds; this AI is different from the rest as it has the ability to correct the things it says, this means that if the user informs Mitsuku that it gave an incorrect answer then it will have the competency to fixthe answer. The Turing test used in the Loebner prize comes from that of Alan Turing, a computer scientist who is considered the father of artificial intelligence. In World War II, Turing worked for the Government code and cypher school at Bletchley Park, the codebreaking centre of Britain. Turing led the way in developing techniques for breaking German ciphers and improvements to the electromechanical machine used to find settings for the enigma machine. If we look at it this way we can see that from Turing’s work on the Enigma machine to modern day Artificial Intelligence systems is a clear sign that AI is moving forward at a fast rate and who knows, in a few years perhaps someone will finally take the gold in the Loebner Prize.



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